Cast and production team of Strike! 2019
At the heart of the ethos of Spectrum is the belief that trying to understand how others see things is the starting point for working together successfully. We enjoy the differences between us, our various strengths and skills. We aim for quality in what we do. The last thing we want is an audience saying: "Didn't they do well, considering...". And we like our theatre to be new, with something to say about issues we think matter. It's a great group to be a part of, as the following comments suggest. And if you think it all sounds a bit too good to be true, please feel free to try it out! [Andy]
So, what’s it like being part of Spectrum? Some of our 40+ members say……
I love performing and have always been interested in theatre. Being on stage and taking part in group activities helps my confidence a lot. I used to be part of a musical theatre company, which I enjoyed but never really felt that I fitted in there - they had a hierarchy of members and I was always near the bottom. Also I never really related to the shows that we performed, which were very traditional and conventional.
I chose to join Spectrum after discovering in my 40s that I am autistic. I am grateful that I can be in a group where I don’t have to pretend to be anyone other than myself. I enjoy the fact that Spectrum is an integrated group, some of us are autistic and some are not, and there is no ‘us and them’. I like that we are a diverse bunch of people with a huge range of different experiences between us. I like that Spectrum is not afraid to tackle current issues and invent new theatre pieces that are socially relevant. [Madge]
Spectrum is a bundle of people all mixed together with love, respect, teamwork and every now and then a bit of comedy. It’s hard to express how important this group is to some, if not most, of us in it. [Deacon]
After starting at the University of Sheffield in 2016, I didn’t feel like I really belonged there, I didn’t quite fit in. I struggled to make friends or felt I’d had no opportunity to get to know Sheffield as a city. Whilst walking through university one day, I noticed the poster for Spectrum Theatre Sheffield’s production of ‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’, a show about what it is like to be on the autistic spectrum. My brother is autistic therefore I thought that the show would be insightful. So I went along...
Never did I think that I would find myself performing as part of the very same production only a year later. I’ve now been part of Spectrum Theatre for 3 years, and I have gained friends for life, the ability to develop my acting and singing skills, as well as learning about the city of Sheffield through new and original productions about its history.
I finally feel I’ve found somewhere that I belong. [Alice]
I joined the group as part of my medical school placement to spend time in the Sheffield community but I fell in love with the group and remained a part of it after my placement ended. Spectrum has increased my confidence, through acting on stage, chatting with new and familiar faces and trying new acting techniques during rehearsals. I have never met a more friendly group who always check in on each other; it feels like a family more than anything else. I am grateful I was introduced to this group and that I can continue attending the fun sessions whilst learning about the diversity and love that Sheffield has to offer. [Alzahra]
I joined Spectrum Theatre last April. The group has helped my mental illness. I now feel I belong to a group who understand and cares and I can be myself. [Matt]
I joined Spectrum Theatre with my son, Matt. At first I was there to support him. The group welcomed both of us so much. It has been lovely to see Matt grow in confidence and even talk to the other members of the group. I feel that Spectrum is a extended family. I have always wanted to dance, act and sing, but never had the confidence. Last Christmas in the production, ‘Strike’, I achieved one of my bucket list! This was through the group’s encouragement. Thank you so much, Spectrum. [Kate]
What I like about Spectrum is that each member is valued for who they are. Everybody is encouraged to shine in their own way and this not only enhances the quality of the performances, but makes rehearsals extremely fun and interesting! [Caroline]
I really like being a part of Spectrum. Members, with many diverse backgrounds and personal circumstances, are extremely welcoming and supportive of each other. Everybody has an opportunity to contribute and original productions are created and developed to allow each of us, with expert guidance, to give of our best and perform to an exceptionally high standard. [Tom]
My son is 18 and joined Spectrum just a few short months ago. Having autism, he struggles massively socially, yet he has such a love of drama and the film industry. The first session he attended (accompanied by me), he seemed so lost and I wasn’t sure if he’d stick at it. Fast forward a couple of sessions and he really started to come out of his shell, Andy and Lynne are fantastic and they really adhere to everyone’s needs and include everyone regardless of ability. Spectrum is a safe haven for my son to be himself and share his love of drama with like- minded people, without judgement. Everyone is so tolerant of other people’s needs and it’s really just a fantastic group. I’m so thankful that Josh has found something that he can join in with! [Michelle]
Spectrum Theatre is a wonderful group of the loveliest, kindest, friendliest people you could wish to meet. Being involved in any session /rehearsal /performance etc. is never less than a total joy, as well as being tremendous fun. I cannot emphasise enough how glad I am that I joined. [Samuel]
As a Special Needs teacher, SENCO and latterly Teacher in Charge of an Integrated Resource I have always loved working with young people who are different and special in their own inimitable way. So when I retired I was delighted to be invited to a piece of theatre in the afternoon no less!! The piece was Spectrum's ‘In Someone Else's Shoes’. It was love at first scene. I loved the concept, the play and the high standard of acting so I was dead chuffed when Andy invited me to join the group. I love the camaraderie and commitment from everyone. There are no divas and everyone is supportive and encouraging. I particularly like the fact that Sheffield is a bit of a star in all of Andy's plays. As a singer I love that music plays a big part too and we have no shortage of talent there!! It's like having a big extended family. [Denise]